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General News of Thursday, 29 August 2019

Source: starrfm.com.gh

130 contractors accuse Ghana First Company of scam

Some 130 contractors executing various automated modern toilet facilities across the country for Ghana First Company Limited under a Public Private Partnership with Government of Ghana are calling for a forensic audit into the establishment of the company suspecting a possible scam.

According to the Contractors, the Company deceived them to believing that it had adequate funds to make 60% of the contract sum after a collaborative visit which has been done, however not a penny has been paid to them since executing their part of the contract for over a year now.

“We suggest that government takes the necessary steps to perform a forensic audit on the company. We also plead with the government to intervene as early as possible to avoid another financial scam in the country, because any pending financial scam could be unhealthy for us as a country and it will also create fear and panic in the country going forward which may serve as a threat to foreigners wanting to invest in Ghana”.

Ghana First Company Limited [GhFCL] ,a waste Management firm by Mr. Frank Akulley signed a memorandum of understanding with Thermodul System GmBH, a German Company and subsequently entered into a PPP agreement with the Government through the Local Government Ministry and the Sanitation Ministry to construct 20,000 units of modern automated toilet facilities across all Metropolitan,Municipal and Districts across the country at cost of $300,000,000 .

The Company subsequently opened tender for the construction of the first set of the facilities with target of constructing 10,000 of its Toilet facility model and put into operation by 2025.

Addressing the media in Koforidua,the Public Relations Officer of the aggrieved Contractors, Yaw Tawiah Dickson said Contractors were made to believe that funds were available in Ghana, and therefore, the contractor just has to raise the structure, provide roofing and outside plastering to pave way for the automation.

“At this level of completion the employer together with the Bank after collaborative visit would release 60% of the contract sum to the contractor to complete the project.Contractors were made to pay 2% upfront of the contract sum to Ghana first company limited before award letters and various sites were handed over to the contractor”.

He stated that contractors started submitting demands for payment from July 2018 which the GhFCL then issued certified Payment Certificates to contractors from April, 2019 but all efforts made to be paid had proven futile as the company is dilly dallying with them under the cover of being a Turnkey Project.

“The Ghana First Company Ltd projects cannot be classified as a” Turnkey Project” due to the following: the final price of the project and other quotations was not determined and quoted by the employer. The employer took responsibility for the design and supply of some essential items such as tiles, complete water closets and other accessories that will pave wave for the automation and self-flushing image of the these facilities. The employer did not provide any mobilization or whatsoever, but rather took 2% of the contract sum from the contractors before awarding projects to them”.

The Contractors argued that GfCL accrued a total of Ghc12,600,000.00 from the 2% upfront payment it took from them.

“Now for example, based on his figures, if he has awarded 1,800 projects and assuming the average contract sum is Gh¢ 350,000.00; Thus 1,800 * 350,000.00 = Gh¢ 630,000,000.00. This means the total contract sum awarded is Gh¢ 630,000,000.00, the company took 2% of this sum upfront before awarding the contract. Thus Gh¢ 630,000,000.00 * 2% = Gh¢ 12,600,000.00.”

“So what it means is that, the contractors have given Mr. Akulley, CEO of Ghana First limited an amount of Gh¢ 12,600,000.00. So out of this funds that Mr. Akulley has paid out a paltry sum of mobilization to a few of our colleagues, which he calls financial assistance in an event where some of our members may have ran into some difficult situations, such as Bank interest accruals, conflicts with suppliers and others. The Financial Assistance that Mr. Akulley has allegedly given out is about Gh¢ 5,400,000.00 as per his paper published some months ago”

The aggrieved contractors have rejected the position of GfCL they should apply for financial assistance arguing it’s not been provided for in the Contract Agreement threatening to embark on demonstration in the next 7 days.

“We are therefore challenging Ghana First company limited that, if indeed they are “Genuine’ as they claim and they have the money, then we are giving them seven (7) days ultimatum from the day of publishing this paper to honor its payment certificates as a responsible company.We will be left with no other option than to mount serious demonstrations, so that, the whole world would know about all these scandalous activities carried out by GFCL”

Communities struggling to get Toilet facilities.

Due to the construction of the GfFCL toilet facilities in parts of the country some existing deplorable toilet facilities, which served the communities were demolished to pave way for the 3 months ultra-modern project to take place,however due to the none payment of the contractors, the projects have been abandoned for months and years creating serious health concerns as the affected residents resort to open defecation.

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